The Department of Labor and Employment has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to set up “access centers" for overseas Filipino workers (OFW) in major malls nationwide.
In a statement, the POEA said Labor Secretary Marianito Roque – as chairman of the POEA governing board – signed an MOU with SM Retail, Inc. and SM Prime Holdings, Inc. in order to “expand" the reach of their worker education and anti-illegal recruitment programs.
“The partnership with the private sector is another strategy in the government’s implementation of a massive and extensive information campaign on the realities of overseas employment, including illegal recruitment," said POEA chief Jennifer Manalili.
As provided in the MOU, Manalili said SM will set up an “access center" in its malls where OFWs can verify licensed agencies and job orders, attend pre-employment and anti-illegal recruitment seminars, and secure information and education materials.
She said the center is also being “eyed" as a facility for the eventual processing of documents of returning workers.
Proponents say the concept of access centers for OFWs is similar to the satellite branches of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and Land Transportation Office (LTO) in malls.
Roque has also signed a separate MOU with Banco de Oro to teach OFWs how to use and remit their earnings.
These deals entered by the POEA and DOLE are pegged to help the thousands of aspiring OFWs and the more than nine million Filipinos abroad.
According to the POEA, 1,376,823 Filipino workers departed for work abroad in 2008 alone. The figures include OFWs returning to their worksite from vacation and new hires.
The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, on the other hand, recorded the all-time high remittances of $16.43 billion during the same year. - Kimberly Jane T. Tan, GMANews.TV